StevenKruis mediates real property, business, trust/probate, employment, professional liability, and personal injury disputes throughout Southern California. Since 1993, he has successfully handled well over 1,700 matters.
A balance between legal acumen and a keen understanding of people is the key to his effectiveness. He demonstrates a passion for settling disputes and makes the extra effort to lead the parties to settlement rather than impose it upon them. As a result, parties have reached settlements ranging from over five million dollars to less than $10,000.
He graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1977 with a degree in government and international studies. Selected as a 1978-1979 Rotary International Scholar, he studied in London, England, and subsequently received his Juris Doctor degree from the Notre Dame Law School in 1980.
Mr. Kruis began his legal career as an assistant district attorney, and then became a partner with Higgs, Fletcher & Mack LLP, San Diego’s third oldest and one of its largest law firms, where he ultimately served as the firm’s managing partner. Since 1980, and before becoming a full-time neutral, he litigated a wide variety of cases, and earned an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell.
Mr. Kruis has been an avid and competitive long-distance runner, having qualified for and competed in the Boston Marathon with a personal best time of 2:45. He lives in San Diego with his wife, Katherine, who also is an attorney and former professional figure skater. They have a place in Aspen where they enjoy skiing and other outdoor activities.
Primary Areas of Focus
Mr. Kruis has been certified by the California Association of Realtors® to mediate disputes involving the residential purchase contract used throughout the State of California. He has authored two Department of Real Estate approved courses for real estate licensees, represented the San Diego Association of Realtors®, has been a licensed California real estate broker since 1985, and has testified in court has an expert witness on real property issues. For the past 20 years, he has mediated all facets of commercial and residential real property disputes.
Probate and Trust Matters
Mr. Kruis gained expertise in the probate and trust area when he litigated will contests and trust disputes for his law firm’s estate planning practice group, and now mediates a substantial number of probate and trust matters, including Probate Code Section 17200 claims.
As a lawyer, Mr. Kruis handled ERISA and employment-related matters in State and Federal court for a Fortune 500 corporation that he represented for many years, and has mediated the full spectrum of employment and wage and hour disputes.
Real estate licensee, insurance, accounting, legal, dental, medical, and architecture.
His personal injury experience ranged from winning a seven-figure jury verdict on behalf of a plaintiff who suffered an organic brain injury in an automobile accident to defensing a complex, seven-figure claim by plaintiffs who were allegedly exposed to debilitating doses of toxic substances. He has mediated all types of cases from soft-tissue to catastrophic injury, including premises liability, motor vehicle, toxic substance exposure and wrongful death matters.
As a former managing partner of a major law firm, Mr. Kruis understands partnership and business dynamics that have enabled him to bring a practical approach to mediating business disputes including dissolution, breach of contract, and unfair competition.
Mr. Kruis’s professional recognitions include:
Listed in Best Lawyers in America – Practice Area of Mediation.
Martindale-Hubbell Top Rated Lawyers “AV” Preeminent Rated Lawyer Status.
Listed in San Diego Super Lawyers – Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Area